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A chessboard drenched in blood
The MH17 tragedy may have been a horrendous mistake, but it may also have been a desperate gambit by the Kiev minions of the Empire of Chaos. Washington has been quick off the blocks to ignite and in theory win the spin war to persuade the world that Russia's hand was wittingly or otherwise behind the downing of the civilian aircraft. Moscow, more rationally, is seeking the facts first, before pointing fingers of blame. - Pepe Escobar (Jul 23, '14)

The charge of the Atlanticist Brigade

No credible version of events points to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine as intentional mass murder or terrorism, and with international experts now getting access to the black box, there seems to be little the Atlanticist Brigade can use to point the finger at Moscow. Still, expect sanctions on Russia to follow, and for the reverberations to reach east all the way to China. - Peter Lee (Jul 22, '14)

Orwell alive in Palestine, Ukraine
Western coverage of contemporary events from Palestine to Ukraine reveals that Orwell's 1984 is only too real in today's world. Yet as Leni Riefenstahl knew only too well, the "messages" the media carry of government atrocities depend not on "orders from above" but on a "submissive void" in the population as a whole, not least in the "intelligentsia". (Jul 22, '14)

Hardliners maneuver
over Iran talks extension

Hardline Iranian factions are maintaining pressure on the government over potential concessions in any nuclear deal reached with world powers, following an amicable extension arrangement reached last week. By exaggerating the level of opposition in the establishment towards a long-term agreement, the conservative establishment hopes to prevent normalization of ties with the US. - Mahan Abedin (Jul 22, '14)

How US policies
sealed Iraq's fate

Strikingly devoid of comprehension of the forces at play in Iraq and the region, post-invasion US policy in Iraq followed a simplistic dichotomy of "good guys" versus "bad guys". Distressingly aware of what was happening to their country, Iraqis have long dreaded that the destabilization and sectarian disintegration would lead to the mass bloodletting that's now been unleashed.
- Dahr Jamail (Jul 22, '14)

Hatred as politics in Myanmar
Deadly anti-Muslim attacks in Mandalay have again revealed that dark forces loom large over Myanmar. While the international community invests millions in institutions such as the Myanmar Peace Center, more must be done to hold the government accountable for the role it has played in supporting movements responsible for inciting hatred and violence.
- Kyaw Win (Jul 18, '14)

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It was Putin's missile!
Here's the spin war verdict on the latest Malaysia Airlines tragedy. It's "terrorism" perpetrated by "pro-Russian separatists" in Ukraine, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is the main culprit. End of story. Anyone who believes otherwise, shut up. Why? Because the CIA said so. Unlike the United States, Russia will take its time to know the basic facts of what, where, and who, and engage on proving the truth to Washington's spin.
- Pepe Escobar (Jul 19, '14)

Dutch try to reach plane crash site
Dutch experts hope to reach the crash site of a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine today to help identify their nationals among the 298 victims. Amid international condemnation of pro-Russian rebels, who piled nearly 200 bodies from the downed jetliner into refrigerated rail carts, the UN will call for full access to the site for investigators. (Jul 21, '14)

Iran balks at Kurdish statehood threats
The prospect of Iraqi Kurdistan capitalizing on Iraq's turmoil to become an independent state is worrying Iran, with the Islamic Republic suspecting the new country would become a permanent base for American and Israeli influence on its doorstep. Even worse, independence would inevitably embolden irredentist Kurdish elements in Iran.
- Mahan Abedi (Jul 18, '14)

The war Israel cannot win
The targeting of Hamas in Gaza is an Israeli attempt to challenge a narrative that is no longer about the strip and its siege anymore, but the entirety of Palestine, no matter what side of the Israeli "separation wall" Palestinians live. While the hurdles to unity currently look insurmountable, if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparks another massive revolt, that will be the kind of war he cannot win.
- Ramzy Baroud (Jul 16, '14)

America's Scarborough Shoal dolchstoss
As part of United States plans to take an overtly confrontational posture in backing China's overmatched local adversaries in Southeast Asia, Washington has been trying to rewrite history on the notorious Philipines-China Scarborough Shoal maritime standoff in 2012. Although a classic case of failed bilateral backdoor diplomacy, Washington now says Beijing broke unspoken diplomatic rules. - Peter Lee (Jul 15, '14)

US gets dream team in Kabul, almost

US Secretary of State John Kerry secured significant steps towards a resolution of the contested vote for the Afghanistan presidency over the weekend - and revealed Washington's secret hand to unite both candidates as a ''dream team'' to follow Hamid Karzai's rule. Yet, the perceived slight of the incumbent could have unpleasant repercussions for Washington in the tricky weeks that lie ahead for the transition of power. - M K Bhadrakumar (Jul 15, '14)

From Tigers to barbers in Sri Lanka

Close to 12,000 Tamil Tiger cadres either surrendered or were apprehended by military forces when the Sri Lankan government declared victory in 2009 after a bloody battle in former rebel-held areas in the north and east of the country. Only 132 remain in detention. Former militants now free to go about their business, like barber Aloysius Patrickeil, are facing mixed fortunes as civilians.
- Amantha Perera (Jul 15, '14)

Tough month looms for South Korea's Park
As South Korea gradually moves on from the Sewol ferry tragedy, attention is reverting to President Park Geun-hye's botched reshuffle attempts and stalled reform plans. While her ruling conservative Saenuri Party will likely retain its majority at a July 30 round of by-elections, with growth slipping and quarter of her five-year term already over, pressure is growing to deliver.
- Aidan Foster-Carter (Jul 11, '14)

Japan's peace constitution is dying
The Japanese government, with one eye on the United States, recently committed the country's armed forces to use force not only in self-defense but also to help an ally in peril. While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe trumpets reforms as reducing the risk of war, the changes have significant implication and may sound the Last Post for Japan's nearly 70-year-old peace constitution. - John Feffer (Jul 10, '14)

BRICS against Washington consensus
Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa come together today to play top class geopolitical ball with the launch a development bank for the emerging world. The new institution has the power to leave the World Bank in the dust, never mind challenge the order of the Washington consensus that's been received wisdom since the end of World War II.
- Pepe Escobar (Jul 15, '14)

Watch this caliph rip

The Middle East's latest self-proclaimed Caliph, aka Ibrahim al-Badri of Samarra, is on a roll and bursting with territorial ambition. Not satisfied with chunks of Iraq and Syria, his goal is Rome and mastery of the world, no less. The notion that The Caliph will soon attack "the West" is, of course, bogus, but that still leaves US President Barack Obama with a problem. - Pepe Escobar (Jul 11, '14)

Cornucopia of promises
Two candidates with starkly different backgrounds, personalities and campaign styles have whipsawed Indonesia into one of the tightest of presidential races in the nation's post-Suharto political history. Promises by both candidates will be difficult to deliver on whoever is the winner.
- James Bean (Jul 9, '14)

India-Pakistan: New leaders, old tensions
Expectations that new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would oversee a new era of India-Pakistan relations have faded following his appointment of policy figures perceived as mistrusting Islamabad. Ideological and religious fractures in Pakistan and post-occupation Afghanistan's regional machinations also raise the potential for a serious deterioration of ties in coming years. - Daniele Grassi (Jul 10, '14)

Losses mount in
China loan fraud

Investigators in China are struggling to get to the bottom of a growing form of fraud, amid reports of steel makers using letters of credit for iron-ore shipments as a source of funding to by-pass lending curbs. - Michael Lelyveld

World War I still bad news
Richard Ned Lebow's new book, Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!: A World Without World War I concludes that if Archduke Franz Ferdinand had lived, the world would at best be only modestly better off. But the author is no economist. - Martin Hutchinson

Druckenmiller, statesman
Hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller rightfully attained "legendary" stature after achieving a phenomenal 30-year track record. His view of the present Federal Reserve policy "makes no sense from a risk/reward perspective" deserves attention.
Doug Noland looks at the previous week's events each Monday.

Swaraj should visit
Jallianwallah Bagh

India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's reported statement in parliament regarding the Israeli aggression on Gaza is not only illogical but is morally bankrupt and cowardly.
- M K Bhadrakumar

[Re How Israel turned tragedy into opportunity, Jul 8, '14] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows who committed the crime, but the true culprits do not square with his aim to crush Hamas.
Abraham Bin Yiju
Messina, Italy
   Go to Letters to the Editor

1. Arab Spring, Jihad Summer

2. Hong Kong nears tipping point with Beijing

3. Iraqi tsunami hits South Asia

4. Musil and meta-Musil: The inevitable World War I

5. Congress resists Obama on Myanmar

6. US ploy seen in Iran centrifuge demand

7. Ron Paul on 'End the Fed'

8. Fear and loathing at Hotel Babylon

9. World War next

10. The beginnings of the angry Muslim

(24 hours to 11:59pm ET, Jul 2, 2014)


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